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Asda hires Walmart veteran as Chief Merchandising Officer

Asda has hired a Wal-Mart veteran into the strategically important role of chief merchandising officer, strengthening its top team at a crucial time for the UK’s second biggest grocer.

Charles Redfield, who is currently the senior vice-president for food and beverage at parent Wal-Mart’s US warehouse business, Sam’s Club, will join Asda next month.

It is the first high profile appointment made by Andy Clarke, who became Wal-Mart-owned Asda’s chief executive in May.

Asda confirmed the appointment of Mr Redfield but declined to comment further.

The role of chief merchandising officer is a similar remit to that of trading director.

Mr Redfield began his career at Sam’s Club more than 20 years ago and rose up through the ranks after starting life on the shop floor. He once left the retailer to work for a competitor in Canada before returning in 2001.

Sam’s Club, which competes with Costco in the US, is a similar-size business to Asda.

Mr Redfield will fill the vacancy left by Darren Blackhurst, who left Asda in May. Mr Blackhurst had been a contender for the role of chief executive at Asda and left after he lost out to Mr Clarke.

Asda this week reported a 0.4 per cent fall in underlying sales for the three months to 30 June. It was the second successive quarter that its sales had slipped into negative territory, but the grocer said it was fighting back by focusing on its “everyday low price” strategy and improving the quality of its food.

Source : James Thompson - The Independent

20 August 2010
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